Garden centres hit by Julian Graves' demise

Concessions set to disappear as health-food retailer Julian Graves goes into administration.

Julian Graves' demise will leave empty spaces in garden centres where the 189-store health-food retailer has concessions at Garden Centre Group, Garden & Leisure and Blue Diamond outlets.

The retailer has around 13 manned concessions in garden centres, with five at Dobbies and more at Garden & Leisure and Garden Centre Group. There are hundreds more supply arrangements for the company's dried fruit, nuts and snacks stocked in garden centres.

First Franchise director Ian Silverton said Julian Graves was one of the original concessions in garden centres, with many dating back 15 years, which is before the formation of First Franchise.

He added: "If this frees up space in centres, we'll be happy." Silverton said garden centres rarely lose out when concessions go out of business because the concessions can carry on trading under different names or make new arrangements on rent.

Julian Graves continues to trade. Christopher James Farrington, Neville Barry Kahn and Lee Antony Manning, all of Deloitte, were appointed as joint administrators of the company on 2 July.

They are now assessing whether the business should be sold or closed.

The firm has struggled with the prolonged consumer downturn and failed to make a profit in the last four years. Its owner, NBTY Europe, brought the chain from Baugur in 2008.

Concession villages - Garden Centre Group plans progressing

First Franchise has declared that Garden Centre Group's (GCG) plans for at least 10 concession villages are progressing.

Investor Guy Hands said last month: "We intend to sharpen GCG's focus in its core garden business while growing a steady concession-based income stream."

First Franchise director Ian Silverton said weatherproofing garden centres is his priority.

He added that Roman Originals, Chiropody and Mountain Warehouse are expanding most aggressively into garden centre concessions and the Brucknells concession at Canterbury Garden Centre's restaurant would not be a "one off".


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